Greyfields Provide Challenging Development Opportunites

Amy Saunder's article entitled "Retail ghosts"in the Columbus Dispatch discusses the increasing failure of conventional malls and the subsequent upward spike in the development of outdoor shopping and "lifestyle" centers. Between August and 2009 there are an estimated 52 such new developments to open across the country. On an aesthetic level, outdoor shopping developments generally always beat out the bleak, vast spaces of indoor malls. But the important measure of success for these new developments is in the details; appearance alone does not trump everything else. Saunder's describes many of these "lifestyle centers" as "walkable, profitable, and parkable." Though "walkable" sounds like a great new urbanist attribute, old indoor malls were "walkable" as well - once you parked your car in the lot. It is vital for new outdoor shopping developments to be of mixed-use and high-density. When people can live above where they work or shop, spaces become truly walkable. A good example of this is Belmar in Lakewood, Colorado - a former greyfield that is now home to relatively high densities and thriving commercial spaces.

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